Arathorn has to deliver bad news to the family of a fallen Dúnedain ranger, a conversation between him and the eldest son. Written for the Fic prompt #12: Time, for the Aragorn Angst yahoo grou...
This question surprises me when I step outside Hatron's house where I shortly before had to deliver the news of his death. For days I rode with his sword strapped to my saddle and his star burning in my pocket. For a moment I do not know what to say and the young lad's expression turns from hope to anger. He surely must be fifteen, too young to ride with us, albeit we can use any sword we need right now, and too old to be playing mirthfully with his younger siblings. I ponder what to tell him. I even spared his mother telling what truly happened to the man she loves, and neither am I willing to tell this young lad the same.
"His pain was fierce, but short. He did not suffer too long," I answer, hiding the obvious lie that Orcs ripped him apart once his horse, weary from the long ride, lost its grip on the steep hill and slid downhill in wild panic. I still can hear him and the horse screaming, but the winter had been ruthless for all creatures in Eriador. We charged downwards and tried to rescue him, but it was too late for Hatron. We simply ran out of time.
"What happened?" Hatron's son asks and suddenly I feel how his hand searches for mine.
"His horse fell and the fall killed your father," I answer and I take his cold hand in mine. He is too young, but the loss of his father will rob him of his innocence.
"Myrin was getting old. Da told us that it was the last time he would take him to ride with you," the young boy entrusts me. "Where is Da's sword?"
"I gave it to your mother. I am certain your father would be proud of you when you follow his footsteps." I squeeze his hands lightly to give him a spark of fatherly love he has to go without now. It has been a year since my father died at the hands of hill-trolls and I miss him profoundly. But I know that I can return home, to Gilraen and my baby son. This boy on the other hand will find his mother's heart shattered and his direct future uncertain. I remind myself to instruct Halbaron to place this family on the list of those that will get more help to feed young children. For a moment a pang passes through me when I think of little Aragorn, now so content at home, still being nursed by the woman I love with all my heart. Who will take care of them when I fall? Nay, I still have time. I will see Aragorn pick up my fathers sword and fight with me for the good cause.
"I have to go now." I ruffle the boy's hair affectionately eager as I am to return home. "Can I count on you when you come of age?"
There is determination and pride on the boys face when he glances up to me. "Yes sir, I will answer your call."
"Take good care of your mother," I instruct him and it pains me to leave him like this, but my time at home will be scarce, Elrond and his sons expect me in a sennight. With hope in my heart and love calling me home, I leave this village behind, realising that time is the most precious gift we get and we should spend it wisely.